One standout truth in today's ever-changing workplace is that continual improvements in manufacturing operations contribute to growth. To rise to the top and become leaders in their industries, companies need processes that lower costs, improve quality, and increase productivity—all at a speed that surpasses their competitors.

One such strategy for forward-thinking companies is Total Productive Maintenance (TPM). TPM is a system that emphasizes eliminating accidents and prioritizing workplace safety. Its successes prove that removing defects, reducing lost production time, and minimizing material waste is achievable—you just have to work for it and have the right systems in place. TPM is a lean tool used to increase productivity, efficiency, and safety, all while optimizing the effectiveness of manufacturing equipment.



To better understand it, we'll go over what each part of the name highlights about the strategy.

Total

TPM aims to refine and elevate the overall success of the facility by focusing on total participation and combining the skills and views of the whole workforce.

To begin applying TPM concepts, the entire company must be devoted to the program. This requires developing and training a workforce that is cohesive, communicates well, recognizes problems, and initiates solutions that prevent the potential breakdown of machinery.

Productive

TPM concentrates on improvements to productivity, primarily by maximizing the accessibility of equipment and machinery. In order to eliminate the waste of productive time and resources, the goal is to create small, multidisciplinary teams to improve the Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE).

The effective operation of the TPM is reflected in the overall equipment effectiveness (OEE). If equipment is not operable, it has an enormous effect on your bottom line, and with OEE you can rate the following:

  • Availability – Was production halted for unplanned episodes like breakdowns or changeovers?
  • Performance Efficiency – Was production running at less than maximum speed? Did it display slower cycles or frequent stops?
  • Quality – Did anything manufactured fail to meet the quality at first inspection?

Getting a clear idea of all of these features gives you a good overall picture of how effective your equipment really is.

Maintenance

The role of TPM is to integrate maintenance into the everyday performance of the facility.

TPM brings into focus the need for daily scheduled maintenance. TPM aims to keep emergency and unscheduled maintenance to a minimum, ultimately resulting in more production hours. Ensuring that you have more production hours to run the equipment you need, without the fear of producing insufficient products, will allow your facility or plant to run like a well-oiled machine and your productivity will further improve.

With TPM implemented in your workplace, running machines and equipment until they break down is not an option. TPM puts the preventative maintenance of machinery at the center of the organization.

How to Apply TPM in Your Business

The first pre-requisite to TPM is the 5S program. It’s important to have your work space clean and organized (find out How Lean Manufacturing Can Help Your Company Succeed).

TPM has eight pillars that are aimed at proactive measures that improve the consistency and effectiveness of machines:

  • Pillar 1: Autonomous Maintenance – Operators are responsible for scheduling and performing regular maintenance, such as cleaning, lubricating, and inspecting the machines
  • Pillar 2: Planned Maintenance – Scheduling maintenance tasks based on expected issues and breakdown rates on specific machines
  • Pillar 3: Quality Maintenance – Incorporating error detection and prevention into the everyday production process. When issues happen, perform a root cause analysis to put a stop to recurring defective products
  • Pillar 4: Focused Improvement – Combining cross-functional teams to work together to find ways to achieve regular improvements on equipment and operations
  • Pillar 5: Early Equipment Maintenance – Using a clear understanding of manufacturing equipment through TPM processes to make progress on the design of new equipment
  • Pillar 6: Education & Training – Continuing to improve skills that routinely maintain equipment and recognize issues with proactive solutions (read How Proactivity in the Field Improves Worker Safety)
  • Pillar 7: Health, Safety, and Environment – Supporting a safe and healthy work environment by removing potential risks
  • Pillar 8: TPM in Plant Functions – Incorporating the TPM process by addressing waste and improvements in waste management operations

Why TPM Works

By applying the TPM process, businesses can see a substantial improvement in productivity. TPM is a proactive and cost-effective approach to preventative maintenance—something every business needs.

TPM will help you achieve the following S.M.A.R.T objectives:

  • Save money by equipment and products consistently meeting company standards
  • Manage a clean and organized workplace
  • Avoid product, material, and time waste in a rapidly changing economic environment
  • Reduce accidents and repairs
  • Teamwork and confidence among your employees through TPM processes

Keep your organization ahead of the curve by implementing these successful strategies (find out how to Get Your CEO to Support Safety with the Curve Approach). The TPM philosophy takes a bit of groundwork but the benefits and opportunities provided to your company as a result will be endless.